Green Bay's linebacker Clay Matthews III led the surge for the Pack's defense, recording two of the team's five sacks of Ryan. Ryan was also responsible for three of Atlanta's four turnovers (two INTs, one fumble lost) on the offensive side of the ball.
Despite the struggles Atlanta put up 21 points throughout the sixty minutes of play, but with Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers nearly unstoppable at this point, the Falcons virtually had no chance at winning this from the start of the game. Rodgers was near-perfect, completing 31 of his 36 pass attempts for 366 yards and three touchdowns.
The lone bright spot of the game for Atlanta fans? Watching return man Eric Weems, a Pro Bowler this season, set a postseason record with his 102-yard kick return touchdown early in the second quarter. But it was all down hill from there as Green Bay scored five unanswered touchdowns, including a 70-yard interceptions touchdown return for cornerback Tramon Williams as time expired in the first half. The interception seemed to be the turning point in the game, deflating any confidence Matt Ryan had in him and giving Green Bay a two-touchdown lead (28-14) at the break.
Atlanta never recovered. Rodgers' offense put the game away with 20 second half points, and showed the world that the Atlanta Falcons are not Super Bowl favorites. Rather, I believe it's the Packers who are the favorites coming out of the NFC.
Since I had picked Atlanta to win, this game drops my postseason game pick record to 4-2 entering the second day of Divisional round play. Let's hope the excitement of tomorrow's two games are the equivalent of today's first game (BAL/PIT), not the second (GB/ATL).
Jordy Nelson: AP Photo/John Bazemore